Barcelona-Catalonia is Southern Europe’s leading Startup Hub. Want to know why?
Catalonia has established itself as a hotbed for innovative startups. Catalonia’s startup ecosystem has increasingly emerged in recent years, attracting entrepreneurs, investors, and talent worldwide.
With more than 2,000 startups, Barcelona-Catalonia ranks as the second-best place to set up a startup in Europe and the fifth-largest EU startup hub, generating a significant economic impact in the region, with a total turnover of 1,720 million euros and creating 19,138 jobs.
Over the last five years, the growth of investment attracted by Catalan startups has been outstanding, going over 5,000 million euros, 296% higher than that obtained in the previous five-year period (1,271 million euros).
One of Catalonia’s strengths in the startup ecosystem is its focus on innovation and technology. Top international companies are growingly setting up tech hubs in Barcelona, and 76% of the startups work with technologies linked to Industry 4.0.
Several renowned organizations, such as the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and the Institute for Photonic Sciences, drive cutting-edge AI, robotics, and biotech research. Many startups are turning this research into commercial applications, leveraging these advances to create new products, services, and business models. Barcelona also hosts some of Europe’s most outstanding universities, which provide many talented professionals and skilled local and international talent, promoting a vibrant professional environment and job opportunities, making the region a magnet for qualified foreign professionals.
Barcelona has established itself within the European Union as the second startup hub with the highest percentage of international founders and the second preferred city for founders to create a startup. Almost one in four workers in Catalan startups (23%) are foreigners, 19% in the case of founders. Skilled talent, a booming startup economy, and excellent quality of life are the main reasons companies choose Catalonia’s capital city to establish their businesses.
Another significant driver of the startup ecosystem is Barcelona’s strategic location. It is one of the few cities in Southern Europe with a full-modal transport integration (sea, airport, motorways & railways) offering international connectivity and easy access to global markets. As a result, Barcelona is a top logistics and distribution center for importing, exporting, and doing business in Europe.
Catalonia’s startup ecosystem characterizes by a strong and highly skilled entrepreneurial culture, a supportive infrastructure, and a focus on innovation and technology. These factors contribute to the development of a very dynamic and robust ecosystem, attracting talent, investment, and attention all over the world.